Leaders of the nations of the world, I address you today in New York just days after the Jewish people commemorated 5774 years since God’s creation of this world. The nation of Israel has a long and rich history. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, our fathers, walked the land of Israel and heard the divine promise that this land would be the inheritance of their sons forever. Our mighty kings David and Solomon ruled over the land with the wisdom of the Torah as their guide. Our great Temple stood as the central focus of Jerusalem and was the place where the entire nation of Israel would gather three times each year for the festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Nearly 2000 years ago, our country was overrun by Roman imperialism when the conquering Romans, out of hate and envy, destroyed our Temple and holy capital city of Jerusalem and banished our fathers from the land.
The Jewish people spread to the four corners of the globe, where they have been hosted by almost each and every one of the lands represented here. Often, that hospitality was not kind, and at times it became outright oppressive. Living or dying with inquisitions and pogroms became part of the stateless reality for the Jewish people. But we never gave up hope for a return to our homeland. From those same four corners of the earth, Jews have faced Jerusalem three times daily to pray that HaShem, the God of Israel, would have mercy on His nation and gather us back to our homeland. Over the past hundred years, the world has witnessed a unique and amazing phenomenon – the gathering of a nation and its re-establishment as a country and culture in its historic homeland. Against all odds, the nation of Israel was reborn. Our prayers have been answered; a Jewish flag flies over a Jewish parliament in the Jewish capital, protected by a Jewish army.
I am aware that there are some people who are not happy about Israel existing as a Jewish state in the historic homeland of the Jews. To those, all I can say is “too bad, I realize that you can’t make everyone happy.” Our response to that will be to continue to do the best we can in all fields. There is much benefit that the international community could derive by learning from Israel. Due to our poor relationships with our neighbor states, we have had no choice but to be outstanding in developing defense systems, but we also excel in high tech and medicine. Although we are a tiny country, we make an effort to provide medical assistance to other peoples in need and are quick to offer emergency relief at times of crisis. In spite of the above-mentioned strained relations with our neighbors, many, many Arabs have still received first rate medical care in Israeli hospitals. These include hundreds of Syrian civilians hurt in the ongoing civil war there, as well as many thousands of Palestinians from Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
By the way, I must express my great gratitude to HaShem, the God of Israel, who has given us the ability to again be an independent nation standing on our own ground. In 1967, the heartland, Judea and Samaria – with Jerusalem in its center – again came under Israeli rule. So it shall be: Israel will never leave those lands again. Judea and Samaria will always be a part of the State of Israel on the same standing with the Galil and Negev. Jerusalem is our capital – the center of our nation.
We extend a hand in peace to our neighbors. Normal relations would benefit all sides. We would be glad to use our technology for the benefit of the entire region. Israel is a world leader in recycling water. In agriculture, we are currently using 70% water that has been purified and re-used for irrigation. In a dry desert region with water resources becoming scarce, it is a shame not to be able to share the wisdom that we have gained from experience.
But on the other hand, I must point out to those who breathe hate and speak of annihilating the Jewish state and hurting our people wherever they might be, that Israel has a very long arm and a finger that is always on the trigger. The Torah teaches us that if one rises to kill you, you should kill him first. If pressed against the wall, you know that we will always shoot first and ask questions later.
To this gathering, the UNGA, I must be frank: you have failed too many times in your mission to protect those in need. Your impotence in the Syrian situation is embarrassing. Still, as in years past, you tend to focus too much of your effort on criticizing Israel. I am sorry to have to say this to your faces, but there is an abundance of hypocrisy in this organization. Human rights in many of your countries are lacking. Clean up your own ship before you send mock flotillas to the people of Gaza. With all your talk of Israeli oppression of Palestinians, you fail to explain how the Palestinians under Israeli control have a longer life expectancy than citizens of many Arab countries. For 70 years, you have cultivated the myth of millions of Palestinian refugees, while you ignore one million Jews who were expelled from Arab lands in the first decade of Israel’s existence. Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees with no help from the Arab world, who ran them out and exploited the properties and wealth they left behind. The Arab world must recognize and allow those who have lived in their countries – and surely those who were born in them – to integrate and become citizens of those countries.
As I now return to my home, I call on all international leaders to come meet me in Israel and to establish proper diplomatic relations – starting with maintaining your country’s embassy in our capital – Jerusalem.